November 2022 — Recently, three new board members have joined us who will add a whole new dimension to our jazz community. Welcome Bill Abt, Betsy Grant-Kaperonis, and Michael Masci to the family.
Bill is enjoying a well-earned retirement either at live events across Charlotte or with the fish and the family at Folly Beach. “The more I go, [discussing both shows in Charlotte and jazz cities like New York and Philadelphia], the more I’m convinced the JAZZ ROOM is one of the top venues in the country.” Bill worked for a decade in the brewing business, and another nearly 20 years as a “second in command” at Carthage College. In addition to his expertise in process and finance, he brings his love of education and of music to the Board.
#GivingTuesdayCLT: The Power of a Song, for Bill
Forest Flower: Sunrise/Sunset, from a live album by jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd. “Back in college in ‘67, I didn’t know much about jazz, but I had a friend who was into it. He got this album, and we sat around one night and listened to it, in silence. This one live cut is 16 minutes long. It opened my interest: the beauty of the music, the intricate parts that make it so different from other music, the flow of the song from sunrise to sunset, the interaction between the instruments. When I hear that album I feel at peace. “
Betsy enjoys live music, movies, reading, travel, … basically entertainment. Which makes sense, as Betsy spent 20 years in the music industry in New York City. Sharing her love of music, her daughter had a 10th grade school assignment to write an article for a literary magazine, and won a national scholastic writing silver medal for her interview with none other than Lonnie Davis. This was Betsy’s introduction to JazzArts Charlotte. Betsy finally began really checking out the shows and programs after the kids “went off to college, and we started adulting”. Betsy continues, “What makes JazzArts Charlotte special is the education, both youth and adult. There are jazz clubs, but you can catch a show in any city.”
#GivingTuesdayCLT: The Power of a Song, for Betsy
Stairway to the Stars, Dexter Gordon. “I was 17-years-old and accompanying my mother on an errand one Friday afternoon. It was cold and I insisted on waiting in the car, with the heat on, while she ran into the store. We had been listening to a jazz station (Philadelphia) on the car radio, and this track came on. I was mesmerized. I could feel the song through my entire body; a sensation I did not anticipate. I couldn’t wait to share it with my mother! Thus began my appreciation and passion for the artform of (instrumental) jazz.
“Jazz history is a part of US history where people are coming together.” Michael is both history buff and a music connoisseur, who values serving his community. So when he met with a friend on the Arts & Science Council for advise on where he could combine those interests, he was directed to our CEO Lonnie Davis. He is particularly interested in helping JazzArts Charlotte give underserved students access to music. “Everyone has a way of channeling their emotions; there are kids that have that musical talent, and we want to get to them.”
#GivingTuesdayCLT: The Power of a Song, for Michael
Sunshine of My Life, by Stevie Wonder. “When I was little, or later had a bad day at school, my mom would sing that song, play it on the record player. It was our mother/son dance when I got married, and she still calls me her “sunshine”. She is an integral part of who I am today. That song helps me through the ups and down, and reminds me of her.”